Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Arlene Foster, MLA together with Jenny Pyper, Chief Executive, Utility Regulator jointly announced details of the competition to bring Gas to the West (to be managed by the Utility Regulator) on 6 February 2014. In January 2013 the Northern Ireland Executive agreed to provide grant funding of up to £32.5 million to assist the extension of the Northern Ireland natural gas network to the following towns: Dungannon, Coalisland, Cookstown, Magherafelt, Enniskillen, Derrylin, Omagh and Strabane. Earlier research conducted on behalf of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment had indicated that potentially 40,000 domestic and commercial customers will connect to the new gas network in Tyrone and Fermanagh – these customers will benefit from lower energy costs and society as a whole will benefit from lower carbon and other emissions.
The licence application process closed on 6 May 2014 with Mutual Energy and SGN announced as preferred applicants, for the high pressure and low pressure licences respectively on 12 August 2014. The licences were formally awarded on 11 February 2015